Community cannot ignore sexual assualt

Sweeping under rug will not make it disappear

Jacob Sisneros, Sports Editor

Until we treat sexual assault as the serious offense that it is, the problem will continue.

While The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network defines sexual assault as “unwanted sexual contact that stops short of rape or attempted rape” and defines rape as “forced sexual intercourse,” legal definitions can be unclear and may vary state to state.

In fact, the topic of sexual assault is vague and rarely talked about in our society. It is much easier to gloss over the issue and keep giving the same generic prevention advice, but taking the easy route is not how this problem will be solved.

The only way to solve the issue is to shed our fear of discussing it and target the root reasons why the crime continues to occur.

Last fall the De Anza College community was rocked by a reported sexual assault.  In response, the DASB Senate and the Office of Equity hosted a number of community dialogues to address creating a safe space at De Anza.

At a community dialogue held on Nov. 19, 2013, DASB Senate President Stacie Rowe shared her own personal experience with rape and victim blaming to start the discussion.

Speaking about it openly is a step in the right direction to help resolve the issue of sexual assault and reveal some of the problems in our understanding and response to sexual assault as a society.

Sexual assault is a serious crime and has a considerable impact on the victim both physically and mentally, but the repercussions are insufficient to match up with this type of crime.

According to a Bureau of Justice Statistics/Department of Justice study published in 2000, fewer than 5 percent of completed and attempted rapes of women in college were reported to law enforcement officials.

Factoring in these unreported rapes, only 3 percent of rapists will serve a prison sentence for their crimes, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.

As long as we fail to hold the offenders accountable, sexual assault will continue to occur.